While the original concept of an Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane began with William Webber, Third Bishop of Brisbane, in 1859, actual construction didn't begin until 1901, when the Duke of Cornwall (later to become King George V) laid the foundation stone. This was to replace an earlier parish church that was temporarily acting as the cathedral (known as a pro-cathedral) between 1854 and 1904. Because of financial constraints, construction was done in three stages; the first stage between 1906 and 1910; the second stage between 1964 and 1968; and the third stage between 1989 and 2009 (when visiting the cathedral today, you can distinquish the three stages by the color variations in the stonework). Plans called for the entire structure to be built from Australian sandstone. In order to ensure enough sandstone was available for this project, Cathedral authorities went out and bought their own quarry just a few miles outside the city. The architecture of the structure resembles many of the 12th and 13th century Cistercian churches in Europe. Embedded in the floor in front of the altar are two ancient mosaic pieces from the Holy Land; one from a 6th century synagogue in Jericho; and the other from 6th century Christian Church at Gaza. Today, in addition to being a place of worship, the Cathedral also serves as a major center for the arts and music, with its very own orchestra, the Camerata of St. John's. During our visit to the Cathedral, one of the volunteers took time to show us around, pointing out some highlights, including a beautiful stained glass window presented to the church by the American people following a visit from President Obama (knowing that we were Americans, he thought we would get a kick out of seeing this, and we did). I realize that we've said this before, but it is worth repeating; back in 2014, when we started this adventure, we were advised to take the opportunity to visit whatever religious structure was open, regardless of its denomination, as each would be equally beautiful and offer insights into the culture of the surrounding area that we might not get from just visiting secular attractions. We've followed that advice and have found it as valuable today as it was then. So we'll continue to pass it on.
St. John's Cathedral is located on Anne Street in Brisbane, just a few blocks from the Central Business District (CBD).
A view of the main altar through the Quire.
Sixth century mosaic piece from a synagogue in Jericho...
...and the sixth century mosaic piece from a Christian Church in Gaza. Both pieces were uncovered during World War I and brought back to Brisbane by the Australian Light Horse Regiment.
Exquisically carved, this pulpit, we felt, is one of the nicest pieces of art we've seen.
Originally constructed in London, in 1909, St. John's organ is one of the largest cathedral organs in Australia.
There are many magnificent stained glass windows throughout the Cathedral...
...but this one held special significance for us. It was given to the Cathedral by the American people, following one of President Obama's visits to Australia.
Beside St. John's is St. Stephen's old cathedral, now known as the Pugin Chapel.
Official portrait of St. John's own orchestra; the Camerata of St. John's.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.